Leclaireur recently made a point of celebrating Cottweiler‘s Woolmark prize, which designers Ben Cottrell and Matthew Dainty won last January, and the launch of their capsule collection, available exclusively at Leclaireur in Paris.
The military-inspired Cottweiler capsule collection steers away from the technical fabrics the brand is known to use, as in its last Fall/Winter collection. Cottrell and Dainty exploited merino wool’s unique proprieties, imagining garments that breathe as well as they protect the body from wind and water.
The duo landed in Leclaireur Sévigné, working with and around the space designed by Arne Quinze, which regular visitors have come to know and love. On Thursday, September 14, surrounded by friends, followers and journalists, Cottweiler unveiled their airport-esque installation and managed to recreate the aerial electricity, impatience and expectations that comes with the perspective of an imminent take-off.
So what kind of impact can the Woolmark prize have on one’s career? And how do you deal with your very first presentation in Paris? The boys next door behind Cottweiler shared their insights, between two passages under the improvised metal detector. Please fasten your seat belts and get ready for take off.
Congratulations on your award. We’re very pleased to be able to present your collection in Paris. It’s been several months since the Woolmark Prize, so it’s a wonderful challenge.
For us as well! This is our first opportunity to do something in Paris, outside of London Fashion Week, and to meet our base. We’re able to concentrate on that and build a network of people. For us, it’s really important. We have such a strong network in London that putting together an event is easy over there. When you step out of that territory, you never know what’s going to happen. When we came to visit the store, around the time the event was proposed, it was really great for us to see what was done creatively with the space and foremost to see how we might be able to complement it, adding our home world into something but also preserving the identity of Leclaireur as well. This is always the challenge. To see many people here makes us feel confident about being in Paris, it’s one step closer to showing here…
That’s part of the Woolmark Prize’s strength, isn’t it? To be able to offer such an exposure, here in Europe…
We totally underestimated the kind of global exposure it would give us. When we did the show, back in January, winning came as a surprise. Not because we weren’t confident, but because the competition is so strong. You never know what the judges will like. We have always been… something of the underdog in these kinds of competitions. To come through in Paris was amazing for us. And the press! During breakfast, the next morning, our phones were going crazy: Vogue Russia, GQ, Esquire, all of these global magazines that we haven’t been in before that. Clearly, we totally underestimated the scale, the global scale that the Woolmark prize would offer us. From that point and all the way up until now, we were able to grow with the campaign and the advertising. Woolmark have pushed everything for us.
What has changed since you won the award?
The other great change has been seeing people on social media wearing, buying our work. Ben and I design for each other. At the end of the day, we’re regular guys. The guys who buy our clothes, they’re like us. The impact is very different than in an article in a magazine the day after the show – which is also amazing, of course. To see the customers, the buyers of our clothes, wearing them and sharing them, is really satisfying.